Victims do not allow abuse to happen to them!
As a victim of domestic violence, sexual abuse, dating violence or elder abuse, you know you’re going to face a lot of doubters before anyone believes you, so why bother report it, you ask. Even if you’re trying to help someone who is in trouble, the same thing will happen to you, so why bother, right?
Because there are those who have never been abused that think it could never happen to them and that those who are being abused have allowed it to happen to them. And it’s because society seems to be more concerned with protecting the one being accused rather than the victim. Whether this is culturally driven or otherwise depends on the society but, for the most part, I want to believe that it’s because unless the concept of Emotional Abuse is understood and we educate ourselves about how perpetrators manage to deceive or mislead people, this will not change. In order to understand how an elder loses their home to their son or why a woman remains in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, one has to understand what Emotional Abuse is and how it can happen to anyone.
So what to do if you’re in trouble now?
The answer is simple: If you can still help yourself, you have to remain strong and believe in yourself. If you remain in your situation, things will only get worse, not better. Once you have left your abuser, you will be in better position to heal spiritually as well as physically and in a better position to ask for help and receive it.
The hardest part is: Not being believed…
There is no obvious evidence of any abuse against you. You know that. And you know that Emotional Abuse doesn’t leave any obvious scars, but you know that you abuser has hurt you physically many times and continues to abuse you verbally, correct? You also know that you can’t provide any proof because your abuser has made sure not to leave any obvious sign of abuse. You know that they know exactly how to hurt you without getting into trouble themselves. However, you know what’s been happening to you, so you have to keep reminding yourself of this. Do not allow yourself to be swayed. You have the right to protect yourself the best way you can. You have done nothing to provoke any of this in any way and they have no right to harm you in any way.
The next hardest part is: Finding someone to help you.
For you, the victim…
It is best to seek help from someone who is not known to your perpetrator. This way your perpetrator is unable to reach out to them in some way to try to influence them against you. If not for any other reason, their help is needed to give you moral support that you will need.
Know that Emotional Abuse is a situation where the outcome is being controlled by a master manipulator. Your abuser is prepared for any outcome if you call in the authorities and they will try every tactic in the book to convince anyone that they are the victims of abuse and you are in fact their abuser and a liar. Chances are, and because they know how to influence people very easily and very quickly, they will be believed or at least a lot of doubt will be placed in your direction. Just be prepared for this. Do not allow this to dismay you.
Fear not anything that is being said against you by your abuser. If you know you are innocent, then keep believing in yourself and don’t give up trying. If you have to, then be prepared to walk away from your situation. If you have a friend that will help, go to them now. The authorities will take you there. If the authorities are not able to help you themselves, and you have no relative or friend to rely on, then insist on their help to take you to a shelter. Also ask for the name and number of legal counsel and any abuse centre or social agency in the area that can provide you with the appropriate assistance.
Keep asking for the authorities to consider both sides of the story before they begin to take sides. More often than not, this will happen. Your efforts will be overshadowed by your abuser’s fine skills at getting all the attention and convincing people or confusing them enough to forget to ask for details or to realize that things just don’t add up. You know there are things not being said or things that are being said that are misleading everyone, so keep repeating the same thing over and over again until someone hears you: “There are two sides to this. Please hear me out.”
For any interveners:
Emotional Abuse of any kind (i.e. spousal, elder, financial) can happen to anyone. The victims did not allow any of this to happen to them. They have been manipulated the same way you will be manipulated when you approach a perpetrator of Emotional Abuse. They have and will continue to use any and all methods to deflect and distract you and discredit the victim. Their intention is to influence their audience in order to weaken or remove any doubt anyone present might have that the victim is indeed in trouble in their presence.
Perpetrators of EA or EEA are above suspicion because of the way they have “positioned” themselves in the community, amongst the victim’s friends and relatives and within the victim’s family. It is vital to remember that they are masters at deception and are counting on the fact that everything they say will be accepted without question and at face-value. Even family and neighbours will no doubt have been convinced of their solid virtue. In the end, unfortunately, it will be people’s perception of the accused that will play a very large role in why, when victims ask or cry for help, they oftentimes don’t receive it.